Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life in Serbia is "freer" than in most places.

I seriously have no idea where Serbs come up with some of the crap they love repeating to each other.

I'm informed regularly that "life in Serbia is freer than in other countries" (usually some ubiquitous "the west").

This is such profound nonsense, I'm usually speechless when I hear this.

What could possibly be meant by this?

It's possible that they're talking about throwing trash out your window or, maybe, chain-smoking in the delivery room of a hospital.  Certainly one is free to drive a car that spits out black smoke from the tailpipe - the air quality in Belgrade is abysmal.  One is definitely freer to smash and burn the whole city centre in response to a 500-strong gay-pride parade marching around 1 block.  It could be that.

I think, maybe, this is what people who have emigrated from Serbia, failed at life in whichever country took them in and return to Serbia triumphantly say to people, who, in turn, then proudly repeat it to anyone who'll listen.

It's really the only thing I can think of, at this point, other than it's just something Serbs pull from their asses.

Perhaps if you're reading this and you think life in Serbia is "freer" than in other countries, you can comment on this post and tell me why you think such a thing.


  1. Things I found more free than living in New York:
    Smoking- I don't smoke but people are demonstrably much more able to smoke in public, despite this being technically illegal in most places in Belgrade.
    Drinking- As above. In Belgrade I could buy a beer or cordial of hard spirits or wine not only from corner shops but at the street corner kiosks. This can not be done in New York or Toronto.
    People in Belgrade routinely ride the buses without paying, while illegal and also potentially one can and does get caught doing this I have know people in Belgrade who have never paid for a bus.
    Food safety- In many neighborhood markets people can buy all sorts of smoked meats, cheeses, unpasteurized milk, vegetables, etc which have never seen an inspection, either at the farm or at the market. While it could be problematic to eat contaminated food there is a quite liberal approach to market food in Belgrade.
    Driving and licencing- Until recently the police were pretty lenient on people cough driving without proper papers or a proper vehicles. Plenty of Rototiller engines pulling carts and horse drawn cars in Serbia- usually among the Roma community.
    Drinking and closing hours are seldom enforced.
    There are no quiet time police during the siesta hours like in Germany for example, or at least I have never heard of any.
    Maybe Belgrade is not so free as the Serbs would like others to think but in my experience it is more informal and the state less intrusive than many other places I have lived.

  2. you haven't been to Belgrade for a while: Can't buy booze after 10pm anymore.

    So, ya. You're freer to smoke in someone's house when they don't want you to. You're freer to drive a polluting car. You're freer to not pay your bus fare (also changing in Belgrade).

    Basically, you're freer to be an asshole, asshole

  3. Its very free indeed, as long as you have the right veza u can do whatever the fuck you want and get away with it :)

    Its all about the VEZA - believe it!

    1. Having to know what guy you need to bribe to get your phone installed on time, or to get your personal documents a day earlier isn't an example of freedom.

  4. That has nothing to do with freedom, I had to wait shitload of days in Canada for stupid shit too, when doing licenses, etc.

    There you can't bribe someone to get it faster. Here you can, that's what freedom is LOL

    1. you're confused.

      the system of bribes in Serbia is not something to be held up as an example of how a society should function.

      It's another example of why/how Serbia is a shit-hole.

      In Canada you can pay to get your passport overnight, btw, as can you in the USA.

    2. Oh I see. So paying to get your passport application fast tracked isn't bribery, because it's state sanctioned? Actually you're right, that's not bribery per's much closer to feudalism/tyranny: one system for the rich and another for the poor. Feeeeeeel the freedom. And yeah, you do have the right to be an asshole. It's your fundamental human right. You have no right to injure property or persons, though. But how being able to buy a drink and drink it while walking along the road for example (as you can't do in New York) is injuring someone else or their property.....well I'm guessing you'll enlighten us???? And the petty bribery in Serbia is nothing compared the real bribery that is inherent in western society. It's merely the people's way of getting by under western imposed ultra-harsh living conditions. After all no one was bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars with tax payers money and then foreclosed on those same taxpayers in return, while paying themselves astronomical bonuses in the process. Libor, Madoff, Bear-Sterns, Enron, derivatives swindle etc. etc. etc. When it comes to corruption we are distinctly second division compared to the west. And it's this real mega corruption that's the true enemy of freedom. Which leads to the conclusion that most people without a chip on their shoulder (who've had the chance to compare the two) have come to, i.e. there's much more real, tangible freedom in Serbia than anywhere in the west. Of course with these western puppets like Tadić, Dačić, Vučić, Nikolić etc. running our country into the ground this won't last....lest we step on their necks.....

    3. ooooh! I was wondering with an angry DSS/RS aligned american would start posting on my site!

      I hope you had an enjoyable evening!

    4. DSS/RS aligned american? Wtf is that? (Also what's RS.....cos I'm presuming DSS is Demokratska Stranka Srbije.....and they turn my stomach.....) American? No. Serbian born and bred. However we Serbs are often geniuses. But being as you're trying to sell some bullshit about us as the pits of this world, I can understand you're probably shocked at the level of my english. Namely the fact that it's probably better than yours. And you're a north american (whatever the fuck that is:D) born and bread;) U stvari možda ću početi da ti prevodim na srbski (da b, a ne p, pošto sam Srbin a ne Srpin:) Čisto onako....da se navikneš na naš divan,melodičan,bogom dan jezik.....šala mala! Nema svrhe da te bušim ovako sočno, a da me stranci koji možda zalutaju na tvoju stranicu ne razumeju....

    5. Radikalna Stranka, you twit

    6. Cheers for the twit part. I thought you were the one who soooo knows Serbia and the others don't know what they're talking about "cos they only stay for a 5 week holiday". So it's strange that you use an acronym for SRS that I have NEVER EVER seen used by anyone in written or spoken fact no one calls them that EVER. They are ALWAYS referred to as either the full name (in official capacity) or "radikali" or "SRS" (in unofficial/semi official capacity)....honestly I can't imagine a scenario in which you could be more full of shit...

    7. Woa. Sorry for getting your team's name wrong. As you can see, there's already people pointing that out to me.

      Thanks for dropping my! Glad you're enjoying my blog!

  5. Now what I'm curious about is, who else in this god forsaken country has an English speaking level tantamount to mine? :p Why, I think I may find a soul-mate.

    As for Doot - your resorting to crude language and insults is effectively killing whatever point you may have made in your blog, at least for me. When someone reacts to critique or to differing opinions by resorting to simple vulgarity... Well. I'll let you infer the rest on your own. Simply said, it makes you no better than the most horrible of Serbian (or any other, for that fact) woefully blinded and primitive nationalist.

    I am not a fan of my country. I'm not proud of it. I don't want to live in it. I want out. I admit it. But like you said you have good reasons for being here for 3 or however many years, so do I have very good reasons to choose leaving over staying and trying to make a difference, and frankly, none of them are the ones you mention in your blog. I'm not saying that those problems aren't real; I'm just saying they're not the tipping point to make me say I want to go elsewhere.

    I've been to America. I've lived in it for 6 months. I've seen the hoods and the ghettos and the drug dealers blatantly selling weed and whatnot on the streets. I've seen people urinating in broad daylight on a bustling street; I've seen someone defecate in the middle of the platform in the subway during rush hour. I've seen people struggle to make ends meet; and I have seen US poverty as well. Would I choose to live in the US? Yes, I would. Why? Because I could (and I did) earn a lot of money there, with my skills and my knowledge. And I could do it anywhere else, too. Some of the things I've mentioned in this paragraph, I've never seen in Serbia, though. Just a little culture shock for you that comes from the other end of the spectrum. And what did my American friends say? "Just ignore it, it happens. Try not to make eye contact with the loonies on the street." Hmm.

    Freedom. It's a very, very fickle term. I don't think people in Serbia have the right idea of it. Sadly, I don't think people in the US have the right idea either. You want a truly good system? Look northwards in Europe.

    To put it all succinctly - I don't have a problem with the facts you've stated in your blog. I agree with many of them. I have a problem with the way you make them and the unnecessary comments you add, which makes everything you wrote entirely subjective which means that, for me, it's just one person's experience that shouldn't be given any more weight than that. Your writing seems more like propaganda than anything else and therefore it cannot be something to be taken matter-of-factly nor objectively.

    PS: The Radical Party's (ew) acronym is usually written as SRS, not RS. RS is used to refer either to Republika Srpska, but more commonly, it stands for Republic of Serbia. Just an FYI.

  6. 100% true. Serbia is still behind all exYU countries in terms of free speech for example. Even today you cannot post on any Serbian portal before administrator approvs your comment. My comments was deleted few times just i wrote something against Serbia or serbian myths (argumented and civilized, not insulting)

    In terms of free speech Serbia is North Korea of Balkan.

    1. unfortunately, I also have to moderate my posts because of threats and doxing.